Process Automation: Strategically Driving Business Information5 Oct, 2015 By: Lauren Ford
The most efficient business practices start with a process. A process blending people and their work together into one streamlined performance. Establishing effective processes in a business creates a foundation for daily operations to take place, boosting productivity, simplifying collaboration and improving the quality of output.
Yet, manual tasks take time. Even when set in a process, delivering paperwork from desk to desk, requesting written approval, manually searching for correspondence – all these tasks are inefficient, time-consuming methods to getting work done. If repetitive manual work is required to conduct business, implementing a process automation solution can transform an existing routine from ineffective to exceptional.
Intelligent process automation enables companies to streamline even the most multifaceted business tasks by applying next-generation technologies to capture, route, escalate and even track operations throughout the entire cycles of any unique process. Automation has the inherent strength to handle the most complex business functions, beyond conventional record-keeping activities, to strategically and efficiently help organizations manage core business processes.
- Driving Accounting Information
Accounts Payable automation streamlines the high speed capture of business-critical documentation, like invoices and purchase orders, through a variety of methods, from scanning, to web forms and even email. This in return, eliminates a high percentage of manual processing errors, such as entry mistakes, invoice duplicates, lost data and more. Automation solutions for accounting processes provide the ability to automatically extract high value information quickly and efficiently, without manual intervention, creating e a streamlined, fully digital invoice management process.
For example, a purchase made through a web form will automatically route by email to the designated processing recipient. Once reviewed, the requisition is then further routed through an automated workflow process to an Accounting representative who can generate a purchase order and invoice for vendor distribution. Next, notification will be sent to the Shipping department to fulfil the order, create a packing slip, and process the purchase to ensure it is sent out, meeting on-time delivery.
When that order is received by the purchasing party, an automated process will match the packing slip, to the purchase order and invoice, based on document data intelligently read through advanced Optical Character Recognition. After the three-way match is performed and confirmed, the invoice will then be routed for final approval and payment. As invoice data is captured, the record information will automatically feed into an existing financial system, such as QuickBooks or Microsoft Dynamics. Process automation can integrate multiple business systems to eliminate the need for moving back and forth between application interfaces.
Once the process is complete, the records are then automatically archived for future reference in full compliance with all IRS mandates. Finally, when these records are no longer needed, they are promptly queued for removal under the proper record retention regulations.
By providing one single point of access, business users are saving time and simplifying the search and retrieval of information, with the seamless ability to process documents in tandem with an existing accounting software.
- Improving Human Resources Processes
Process automation provides Human Resources departments with real-time monitoring and automated escalations to keep employee processes moving and on schedule at all times. With greater insight into control, there is no need to worry about compliance or accountability. Automating processes allows Human Resources to easily view the status of their tasks with a full overview of all actions completed and outstanding. This in return, simplifies internal communication as all users involved in a workflow process have easy access to the information they need.
As a potential employee moves through the hiring process, there are a number of onboarding forms that require manual entry of redundant information. However, process automation can effortlessly manage all paperwork within an employee’s lifecycle, from hire to retirement. Implementing process automation into a Human Resources department will simplify the routing of employee records while eliminating time consuming document retrieval.
Innovative capture capabilities allow data elements gathered from a web based employee demographic form to repopulate onto other required onboarding forms, avoiding repetitive data entry and simplifying tasks of the Human Resources department. Automation then pushes the hiring process into interview scheduling, approvals and performance reviews. A flexible workflow will also set reminders of post-hire activities including periodic evaluations, benefits activation and credentialing.
A well implemented automated process workflow will follow Human Resources approval hierarchies to ensure processing is completed appropriately according to a company’s specific regulations, leading to faster and better informed decision making.
- Automating Contract Management
Automation reduces the costs, complexity, and time to deploy manual contract processes by allowing users to accomplish more with fewer resources. No more waiting or following up. Business process automation initiates intelligent queuing and routing, allowing contracts to be delivered to, and processed by, the right people.
Contract automation improves collaboration and enhances the customer experience by seamlessly connecting internal employees with each other and the customer. Automatically schedule follow-ups and gain real‐time monitoring into every step of a contract signing process including current status, deadline alerts, delay notifications and approaching due dates. Further simplifying this paperless process, users can adhere to government compliance regulations by applying electronic signatures into the automated process. Decision makers can digitally sign web forms with a mouse, stylus pen or finger, which allows Operations staff to eliminate the need to print, sign and rescan.
Once a contract is created and ready for review, an event-triggered workflow will automatically send notifications for a manager’s acknowledgement, signature or other future action. Built-in process automation audit trail functions will work to maintain authenticity of contract management with time and date records of each alteration made, as a document completes its route. When contracts expire, record retention policies can inform personnel and launch new workflow processes to automatically discard or begin the route of contract renewal.
Maintaining efficient contract management can improve the credibility and profitability of an organization by meeting or exceeding client expectations. Managing contracts electronically with process automation helps business entities to meet contractual requirements and obligations, avoid risks and penalties of incomplete contracts, and assign company-wide polices for contract life-cycle management through a digitally automated contract approval processes.
For document-intensive companies looking to challenge the definition of business efficiency, Square 9 Softworks develops award-winning, next generation solutions for process automation that drive increased productivity across all business applications. Delivering the unique tools that streamline process performance, Square 9 contributes to the overall growth and success of your business, so you can spend more time doing the things that matter most. Simplifying business. Simplifying life.
At Square 9’s premier industry event, Encompass 2015, being held October 20-23rd in Clearwater Beach, Florida, attendees will receive an exclusive first-look at the releases of Square 9’s next-generation process automation workflow in the web, built to enhance the user experience by extending key business processes to mobile users. Find out more at www.square-9.com/encompass2015.
Marketing Communications Manager, Lauren Ford, is the dynamic voice behind Square 9 Softworks. Delivering highly effective messaging across reseller channels, end user communities and outside agencies, Ford develops, drives and executes communication plans that effectively support Square 9’s overall marketing goals and objectives. To learn more visit http://www.square-9.com